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Your Computer As Your Singing Coach 127

Posted by timothy
from the but-my-computer-already-is-my-singing-coach dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Israeli researchers have developed an electronic ear to coach vibrato technique. Until now, the quality of a vibrato — the pulsating change of pitch in a singer's voice — could only be judged by voice experts. Now, a Tel Aviv University research team 'has successfully managed to train a computer to rate vibrato quality, and has created an application based on biofeedback to help singers improve their technique.' Interestingly, this research could be used for other applications, such as improving automated help centers, where computers could be trained 'to recognize a range of different emotions, such as anger and nervousness.'"
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Your Computer As Your Singing Coach

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  • Other related references come to mind. AI being used to predict hit numbers, maybe this: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/3432617.html [freepatentsonline.com] and Wreck-A-Nice-Beach too....why is this story different?
    • "... why is this story different?" Maybe it's not different.

      Why is it that Roland Piquepaille stories always seem to include some place [convio.net] to send money? In this case the place is called the "American Friends of Tel Aviv University". Why only Americans? Why not Europeans, too, or anyone who has money?

      Quote: "Your gift may help develop the computer science and engineering solutions that are the backbone of Israel's defense technology." As in 4 million Jews in Israel getting into gun battles with 1.3 billi
      • by Dog-Cow (21281)

        If I think of ways that Jews can be peaceful, doesn't that make me more Jewish than those who think of ways to be violent? If I help Jews live in peace in the world, aren't I morally more a member of the Jewish tribe than those who think of ways for Jews to be adversarial? Even though I have no genetic, political, or religious connection to the Jewish culture, don't my caring ideas make me more truly Jewish than those who call themselves Jews, but whose minds are filled with violence?

        The Jewish religion isn't some quack like Christianity. Other than converts, you are either born Jewish or you aren't. There's no "feeling Jewish" or any crap like that. You can't just wake up one day, throw yourself into a pond and say "I believe in God, therefore I am Jewish". We leave such crap to religions that have to gain membership through murder and torture.

  • by DigitAl56K (805623) * on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:35AM (#24072515)

    Interestingly, this research could be used for other applications, such as improving automated help centers, where computers could be trained 'to recognize a range of different emotions, such as anger and nervousness.

    This task should be quite easy. Frustration and anger are the only two emotions I tend to experience when I get through to an automated help center. It would be a better investment of time to evaluate how long I spend interfacing with the system, how many times I have to re-navigate the menu hierarchy, how many times I have to call back and start over, how many actual people I end up being directed to, how many times I have to restate the same information and how long I spend talking to someone before I solve my problem, if I ever do. .. but I'm not bitter..

    • by Shadyman (939863)
      Exactly. Keep in mind, all you have to do in many automated help centers is swear, and you'll usually get "Transferring your call to the complaints department"
    • Even easier (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Serenissima (1210562)
      They could also just listen for:
      "Goddamnit!"
      "You piece of shit!"
      or the always indicative "FUCK!"

      Just by checking for those 3 phrases, they should be able to ID an angry caller with at least a 99% positive rate.
      • by omeomi (675045)
        Heck, if that's all I've said, the call is going rather well, comparatively.
      • I heard a wildly apocryphal story once that claimed at least one IT company had developed a phone tree system that automatically directed you to a real person if you swore. You may be very much on to something!
    • by mazarin5 (309432)

      To prevent a hostile workplace, you'll be kept on hold until you calm down, or possibly in a menu system that keeps you busy and distracted so you forget whatever it was that was bothering you.

    • Can anyone recommend some good software for giving you feedback when singing? I saw a television program on one, and it seemed pretty good -- I just don't remember its name.
    • This task should be quite easy. Frustration and anger are the only two emotions I tend to experience when I get through to an automated help center. It would be a better investment of time to evaluate how long I spend interfacing with the system, how many times I have to re-navigate the menu hierarchy, how many times I have to call back and start over, how many actual people I end up being directed to, how many times I have to restate the same information and how long I spend talking to someone before I solve my problem, if I ever do. .. but I'm not bitter..

      How frustrated with this voicemail system are you on a scale of 0 to 9, where 0 is not at all frustrated and 9 is very frustrated. I'm sorry you pressed the pound key to return to the previous level. The pound key only works for non mandatory poll questions but this poll question is mandatory for users of the complaints line. Please press a number. You pressed 9. Is this correct. Press pound if you are happy with this answer or star to move on to the next question. You pressed star. How frustrated with this

  • This is all well and good, but when it comes right down to it, how pleasant someone's singing voice is, is a completely subjective thing that can only really be properly judged by other human beings. I say this as someone who has had formal vocal training, has performed publicly -- and as someone who is heading out the door in a few minutes to go to karaoke. ;-)
    • by hedwards (940851)

      By and large yes, but it's also dependent upon a few other things.

      The quality of the equipment and the amount of time a person has spent learning to listen. When I moved up to my Senns, I noticed a real difference, and those aren't really even high end.

      Things like those annoying stray frequencies that some people's voices have are not apparent if you're not using decent equipment. The ability of a person to stay at the right pitch, keep tempo and use a major versus minor cord all have huge impact on the qua

    • by omeomi (675045)
      how pleasant someone's singing voice is, is a completely subjective thing that can only really be properly judged by other human beings.

      They said nothing about the pleasantness of the singing voice. The system judges the quality of the vibrato. Though that seems like it would be fairly easy to assess. Just measure the consistency of frequency range and the consistency of each pulse, and generate a score.
      • They said nothing about the pleasantness of the singing voice. OK Mr. Literal. But what they're working towards being able to quantify with a machine, is someone's singing voice.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by omeomi (675045)
          OK Mr. Literal. But what they're working towards being able to quantify with a machine, is someone's singing voice.

          I'm not sure that's necessarily true. The summary says they're using "biofeedback to help singers improve their technique". Based on that, it would seem they're more interested in it as an educational tool rather than a tool for critics. There are a number of other technologies to help musicians improve their technique, so it's not like this is the first. For instance, many wind musicians w
          • Sure, I use a digital tuner to tune my guitars, too. But have you ever noticed that when a band or an orchestra is tuning up, they tune to each other, even after using their tuners? If you've got a piano, for instance, you all tune to the piano (because you can't tune a piano on the fly). I'll grant you that some piece of software might help singers learn the technical skills of their art, but when it comes right down to it, machines don't listen to and show appreciation for music, or in this specific case,
            • by omeomi (675045)
              Sure, I use a digital tuner to tune my guitars, too. But have you ever noticed that when a band or an orchestra is tuning up, they tune to each other, even after using their tuners?

              I've played saxophone for 20 years, so yes, I know a bit about tuning. Tuning a guitar and tuning a wind instrument are two very different things. Once you've tuned your guitar, you basically forget about intonation until you need to tune it again. You're not constantly adjusting each note to the slight idiosyncrasies of your
              • by Jon-o (17981)

                Yes, people do this. I think it's often not a good idea. Tuning every note to a tuner, watching a little dial moving around can be for for learning the tendencies of your instrument - it's good to know that, on one particular saxophone, a given Bb fingering is a little sharper than another, for example. However, there are a few big problems with it: one is that it trains you to associate a visual event (the needle) with your tuning technique, whereas in real performances, you use your ears. A better practic

                • by omeomi (675045)
                  Can't argue with that. I think the best thing about long tones no matter how you do them is that it helps build endurance and improves your tone quality. But yeah, it's always better to use your ear, even when just learning new music. I can read music quite well, but I will often try to learn new pieces by ear, just because it helps me to internalize them better. On the saxophone, it's not too hard. Where it gets really hard (for me, anyway) is when I'm trying to learn a piano piece completely by ear.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by dodecalogue (1281666)
            I haven't RTFA (never do) but it would be interesting if the biofeedback somehow encouraged you in directions that you felt pleased with. That's the general kind of trajectory I think of when I think of "feedback", so it would make sense in that regards. I'm not sure how that would work, maybe encouraging you when you felt good about your results.

            I just don't understand these singing competitions, their appraisals seem totally random. I've sang in a bunch of choirs and worked on the open vowels and prop
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by OctavianMH (61823)

        how pleasant someone's singing voice is, is a completely subjective thing that can only really be properly judged by other human beings.

        They said nothing about the pleasantness of the singing voice. The system judges the quality of the vibrato.

        While I believe the above was referring to "quality" in a scientific sense rather than how "good" or "bad" it was, the whole hypothesis of one's "vibrato" having all that much to do with whether one is a good singer or not is hogwash. There are many uses of vibrato from virtually none (listen to a good singer perform Handel) to a ton (listen to a different good singer perform Wagner), where the amount of vibrato in a given style changes over the course of a phrase...etc.

        In the end, all this algorithm can p

        • by omeomi (675045)
          the whole hypothesis of one's "vibrato" having all that much to do with whether one is a good singer or not is hogwash. There are many uses of vibrato from virtually none (listen to a good singer perform Handel) to a ton (listen to a different good singer perform Wagner), where the amount of vibrato in a given style changes over the course of a phrase...etc.

          Well, you're not really talking about quality there, you're talking about whether it exists at all, and how it's used. Assuming a vocalist is using vi
        • Re:Machine vs. Human (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:33AM (#24072975)

          I have to say, you're stepping into a high-expertise field armed with a perilous lack of technical knowledge.

          There are already numerous types of acoustical analysis and biofeedback in use in many places for the training of elite vocalists - by that I mean high-level classical singers. These include spectography which can be used to examine tonal balance factors, legato, vowel differentiation and modification, and so on; the electro-glottal graph which is a device that measures vocal fold closure and displays the individual cycles which can be used to evaluate pressed vs. breathy phonation; a device which measures the relative expansion and contraction of the chest and abdomen during breathing and singing and graphs them.

          Contrary to your assertion, vibrato is a very important pedagogical tool. Vibrato rates that are too rapid (above 7.5 cycles per second or so), too slow (below 4 cycles), or too wide all indicate specific types of technical deficiency.

          Vibrato is an important element of vocal technique as well, because the achievement of consistently vibrant sound through the range, and through different vowels, is an important goal in the training of singers. Vibrato is generally not related to muscle control factors except largely to the extent that through muscle tension or 'holding' the presence of vibrato can be reduced or eliminated. This is called "straight toning."

          A tool that can help to measure quantitative vibrato factors: rate, consistency, pitch excursion, changes in dynamic, etc., could be very helpful in the training of singers. These are all subject to acoustical analysis and there's no reason to think that this machine wouldn't be able to do it.

          As a matter of style, for both historical reasons and modern aesthetic reasons, I believe Handel should be sung with a fully vibrant sound. The tenor for whom Handel wrote Messiah and many of his other works was a full dramatic tenor whose large voice bore little resemblance to the light, lyric tenors who generally perform that music today for reasons of "historical accuracy."

          I also find it somewhat odd that Shakira is held up as a model for good vibrato. She has a bleating vibrato which varies not only in pitch but in dynamic as well, which in another singer would be considered a serious technical deficiency.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by atraintocry (1183485)
            I also find it somewhat odd that Shakira is held up as a model for good vibrato. She has a bleating vibrato which varies not only in pitch but in dynamic as well, which in another singer would be considered a serious technical deficiency.

            It's not odd when you consider that most people can't tell when Auto-Tune has been used on a track.
          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            I also find it somewhat odd that Shakira is held up as a model for good vibrato.

            She IS? Who holds Shakira up as a "model for good vibrato"? I get seasick when I hear her voice.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            Yeah, but Shakira makes up in lack of singing talent with huge... tracts of land.

            • Yeah, but Shakira makes up in lack of singing talent with huge... tracts of land.

              Are you mistaking them for mountains? Last I checked, her tracts were small and humble.

          • by jacquesm (154384)

            the reasons why Shakira is held up as a model for anything are on her front, a bit below the shoulders...

          • by d'baba (1134261)

            I also find it somewhat odd that Shakira is held up as a model for good vibrato. She has a bleating vibrato which varies not only in pitch but in dynamic as well, which in another singer would be considered a serious technical deficiency.

            Oh yes, much worse than say, Stevie Nicks.

        • by sowth (748135)

          Isn't good muscular control part of good technique? Maybe such a computer program couldn't train someone in all aspects of singing, but I would imagine it could help them improve some aspects of their technique...

    • This is all well and good, but when it comes right down to it, how pleasant someone's singing voice is, is a completely subjective thing that can only really be properly judged by other human beings.

      So who was asleep on the job when they were supposed to be judging Wing [wingtunes.com]?

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        So who was asleep on the job when they were supposed to be judging Wing [wingtunes.com]?

        Don't you talk bad about Wing.

    • For top level performers, yes. But for those of us who may want to learn to sing while not making asses of ourselves in front of human beings (and paying money in the process), this should work quite nicely.

      I'm looking forward to it.
      • If you can't deal with singing in front of a coach or teacher, then you're never going to sing in front of ANYONE -- and if that's the case, then you need to find another hobby. If you're singing just for yourself, you're really wasting your time.
        • by hazem (472289)

          If you're singing just for yourself, you're really wasting your time.

          I have to disagree with that... at least for me. When I'm suffering from a bout of depression, I can often pick myself up by singing. It works better for me than many other things (even other musical things like playing piano). I put on one of my favorite Jazz musicians (Kurt Elling) and sing along where I can (he has quite a range). 20 minutes of that does wonders for my mood.

          A few of my close friends have heard me sing and say I have

          • *shrug* OK, I'm with you on that; if you feel better for doing it, then I'm all for it. It's not like I make a living at it, I do it entirely for my own enjoyment. More power to you.
          • by jacquesm (154384)

            Your neighbour here, every time you start singing *I* get depressed.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          If you can't deal with singing in front of a coach or teacher, then you're never going to sing in front of ANYONE -- and if that's the case, then you need to find another hobby. If you're singing just for yourself, you're really wasting your time.

          You know, Duncan, up to now, you've been just on the border of being overbearing, pretentious and a horse's ass in this conversation.

          Now you've just crossed over.

        • by jvkjvk (102057)

          If you can't deal with singing in front of a coach or teacher, then you're never going to sing in front of ANYONE -- and if that's the case, then you need to find another hobby. If you're singing just for yourself, you're really wasting your time.

          Yeah, because obviously you should ultimately do your hobbies for other people's enjoyment or you're just wasting your time. Anyone spot a flaw in this line of reasoning? :)

        • Thanks for your opinion, but you're making a number of assumptions which are incorrect...
    • pheromonal synesthasia? sounds great!
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      as someone who is heading out the door in a few minutes to go to karaoke

      I wish you hadn't admitted that.

      I was with you up to then.

      • I knew I was sticking my neck out by saying that, but I said it anyway. Not everybody is in a band, and outside of something like that, what do you do? Sing along with the radio? In the shower? Believe me, I have to endure quite a bit of bad at karaoke, but there are places where there are more good singers than bad, the sound system and mixing is decent, and the crowd and staff actually LIKE having it there -- and then it's not so bad.
    • >>how pleasant someone's singing voice is, is a completely subjective thing

      As someone who owns Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Neutral Milk Hotel albums, I can only agree.

      Oh, and MC Chris.

      -b

  • new? (Score:2, Interesting)

    How is this technology new? I remember hearing many many years ago that they had developed gadgets that you could attach to your phone that could more or less sense if a person was nervous or not and could even function as a lie detector. These devices were probably pretty primitive, and their claims of being able to be used to spot when someone was lying to you were probably a little over the top, however, this technology doesn't strike me as new.
    • Indeed. It is old news.

      Talking is as musical as singing. Listen to Stephen Hawking's robot voice or any other decent text-to-speech translator and note the syllables' changes in pitch.
      • Or listen to a tonal language, like Chinese. I remember seeing in an introduction to a Mandarin textbook the different tones plotted out on a treble staff.
  • So now instead of pressing zero until I get a real person I can just start yelling into the phone.
    • by st33med (1318589)

      Nah, you will just get their shelled, 'It's going to be OK, sir,' response. If you keep yelling, they will trace the call and get an ambulance to come and send you to a bedlam.

  • cheaters! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668)
    I've said it once, I'll say it again...vibrato is just cheating when you can't sing the actual pitch. Seriously, just pick a note and sing it. What's so wrong about that?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tirno (923929)
      Well, as a cellist, I can say that vibrato definitely has pleasing effect on the ear, and allows for extra expressiveness (through varying types of vibrato, fast/slow, wide/narrow, etc.). And you can't fake intonation, vibrato or not. Of course, I'm no expert in vocal music, but I would think the idea is similar.
      • by Danzigism (881294)
        you bring up a good point Tirno. vibrato is actually extremely important for people playing actual wind instruments as well.. interestingly enough, people without the vibrato sound like they haven't developed their skills yet and remind me of a junior high school band. so although I feel for singers vibrato is wonderful when used in proper moderation, control over such vibrato is a sign of their skill and practice.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by st33med (1318589)

      Want bad vibrato and notes? Listen to any American Idol entry. Instant ear bleed. In a bad way.

      • Want something even worse? Try Jessica Simpson's version of "These Boots Were Made For Walking". Pure ear rape.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mrbluze (1034940)

      Seriously, just pick a note and sing it. What's so wrong about that?

      Many a good choir is ruined by people who sing vibrato. Once a singer learns it, their voice is rarely if ever 'natural' again and many great (usually early) choral works cannot be sung properly.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Many choir directors have a certain conception of good choral singing. This often includes straight toning (singing without vibrato), unnatural vowel modifications to reduce 'brightness', and a number of other things which are foreign to trained singers. More than anything else, these methods are designed to compensate for poor individual voices. If you listen to the early work of the Robert Shaw chorale, particularly his collaborations with Toscanini, it is clear that his choir consists of professional

      • That's interesting. I was sort of under the impression that 'real' vibrato isn't caused by br-ea-th-in-g in a weird way but the interactions of harmonics in the singer's voice. I'm thinking of something like tuvan throat singing.

        I've built audio contraptions that played a straight, unvarying tone in or out of phase with itself or a nearby frequency (each on its own speaker) that provided a passable imitation of vibrato.

        Or are we talking about different things?

        The only time my voice got vibrato is when the h

      • Many a good choir is ruined by people who sing vibrato. Once a singer learns it, their voice is rarely if ever 'natural' again and many great (usually early) choral works cannot be sung properly.

        Try listening to a recording of the Tallis Scholars sometime. Early music combined with a sensible and elegant use of vibrato.

        Vibrato will make a voice richer and more expressive. This may not always be desirable (nobody, for example, would sing the high solo soprano notes in the Allegri Miserere with vibrato!) but to eliminate all vibrato is nonsensical.

  • where computers could be trained 'to recognize a range of different emotions, such as anger and nervousness

    Nothing new to see here, we been doing this on software for call centers for managers to help agents if people in the other side of the line starts to get angry or something.

    Dunno why this is labeled as "new".

  • 1. Gather a bunch of recordings of good and bad vibatos
    2. Analyse their characteristics with a spectrograph to find what makes the good ones.
    3. Make a simple program that analyses such characteristics using fairly basic techniques such as FM demodulation.
    4. Wait for Roland to praise your work in his blog and cross your fingers that Slashdot will relay the 'news'.
    5.
    6. Profit?

    No really, someone explain to me what's the big deal, that's something simple that could probably be done in analog electronics. Or is

  • Truly impressive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by javaman235 (461502) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:01AM (#24072859) Homepage

    ...every programmer should work with something like this at least once. I did some audio programming work in college, and its a totally different world than the regular web dev stuff I have done, because you're working with the convergence of acoustics and physics with programming. In true signal processing apps, what you are doing has to happen FAST as well, which makes the guys who work in it true wizards, and that's without even considering the subjective recognition stuff that these researchers had to do. Kudos to them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonaskoelker (922170)

      every programmer should work with something like this at least once

      Agreed. My pet project of this sort is a wiimote hack, whereby you can play music with the wiimote. And no, it isn't just playing loops, it's indicating a tone with the angle of the wiimote (and nunchuck).

      So, it's really simple, right?
      - You steal the code that gives you the vertical angle of the wiimote from wmgui,
      - quantize it to [-12, 12],
      - raises the twelfth root of two to that power (or do a lookup into a temperament table),
      - multiply it onto the base frequency (say, 441 Hz),
      - generate a wave of that

  • Could this technology, or a derivative, be used to help computer-generated speech technology?

    I'm thinking something along the lines of a genetic algorithm that tweaks text-to-speech parameters and uses a technology like the one in the FA to determine the best output.

  • Yep. It's time for bed. I read "Your computer as your singing couch"

    good night folks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)
      I'm sorry you have to sleep on the couch! Especially if it sings. Though maybe if it's a lullaby it's not so bad....
  • This reminds me of the time (perhaps six years ago) that my friend got a great deal on airline tickets to Italy, so he and his wife and another friend decided to go on relatively short notice. My friend got a "Learn Italian in 10 days" cd, and would practice in his office.
    The lady on the CD would say a phrase, and you were supposed to repeat it back, into the microphone, and it would grade you. My friend got phenomenal scores.
    One day, I listened to what he was doi

    • :) I have this nice french learning software for windows 98. It is pretty good for its time -- infact even works now. Not sure what your had but it seems like a 20 dollar cheap buggy software. Always buy brand name software -- specially when it comes to education. Or stick to Linux :)
  • I think this qualifies for the strangest headline on /. yet.
  • I guess this will be used at the airports for anti-terror purposes. Ask the traveler some questions and measure the tremolo in the voice to figure out if he's nervous.
  • I've never been able to sing with any vibrato myself. Is it something that everybody can do with proper coaching, or does it require some innate ability that only certain individuals possess? Any links to relevant on-line information would be appreciated.
    • by Praxx (918463)

      I've never been able to sing with any vibrato myself. Is it something that everybody can do with proper coaching, or does it require some innate ability that only certain individuals possess? Any links to relevant on-line information would be appreciated.

      I don't have any links for you, but I can say from experience that it's definitely a learned skill. You can certainly learn it on your own, but it'll be far easier with formal voice training. I suppose it's a skill much like whistling; it's hard to descr

  • It should be programmed to give a poor score for using a vibrato. I don't know about you but I can't stand it when I go to a ball game and have to tolerate a 40 minute version of the national anthem because the singer vibratos every line of the song for a full minute.

    eg: "The land of the FRE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E............."

    Personally I consider it a mockery of the anthem.

    • by Eudial (590661)

      It should be programmed to give a poor score for using a vibrato. I don't know about you but I can't stand it when I go to a ball game and have to tolerate a 40 minute version of the national anthem because the singer vibratos every line of the song for a full minute.

      eg: "The land of the FRE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E............."

      Personally I consider it a mockery of the anthem.

      I agree. I think vibrato is like the special effects of singing. It can be impressive if used in moderation, but it should not be overused. And much like action movies, nowadays it's all car chases and explosions, instead of any real contents.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by kohai_ut (1137695)
        Actually, singing without vibrato is a singing style just as much as singing with vibrato. "Mixed" singing uses both, classical uses all vibrato, and a Capella uses almost none. Your statement indicates you prefer "mix" as a singing style.
    • I agree. And let's not forget the rock renditions/guitar solos of the anthem. Ugh, what a mess. Hendrix, Van Halen, I love you guys, but seriously I hate your little versions of the anthem. And you know what? Maybe part of it is that I just don't really care for the anthem's tune to begin with. Maybe the anthem isn't the best freakin' choice for solo riffing. You know?

      See how your audience likes your 5-minute guitar solo version of the T-Mobile jingle. Lame, right? So stop it.

      Imagine the looks you would get

  • break glass, that ain't a real vibrato

    • by mux2000 (832684)
      Actually, it would be a lot easier to break the glass without vibrato, assuming you hit the critical note dead on. If you have trouble keeping in tune, a vibrato might help as then you'd still hit resonance once in a while. but I'd imagine it would be much harder.
  • Hello,

    I see that your customers are so disgusted with your new shiny version of your software that they are jumping ship and choosing competing products by the droves...

    Would you like some help with:

    1- Making changes to your software the users will hate?
    2- Earning severe redirection by most web-masters?
    3- Attracting the evil eye of BOFHs worldwide?

  • Now if only singers used software to improve their intonation as well...
    • by Danzigism (881294)
      they do! it's called Auto-tune and it is incredibly overrated and cheesey sounding. it is actually a studio standard for just about every pop artist that exists.
  • "Interestingly, this research could be used for other applications, such as improving automated help centers, where computers could be trained 'to recognize a range of different emotions, such as anger and nervousness.'"

    STFU with this bullshit. Just get someone to actually solve my problem. Don't spend cycles getting a robot to figure out my emotional state that you can't do anything about anyway.

  • by Pheidias (141114) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @11:23AM (#24074939) Homepage

    Here's what I know, and forgive me if any of this seems rudimentary, but I think vibrato (like singing generally) is not well understood by most people:

    Vibrato is a cyclic departure from and return to a pitch. When a cellist holds a note and wobbles her left hand without starting a new note, or when B.B. King does the same, that is vibrato. It is heard as a "throb" in the voice, especially in those voices where it coincides with a cycling of intensity as well. This pulsing quality is something that musical instruments can rarely capture.

    Some things vibrato is not:
    -Tremolo: the repetition of a note, usually rapid, despite the misuse of the term in electric guitar circles to mean pitch-bending equipment.
    -Glissando: a change in pitch moving in one direction, like a slide whistle or a pianist running a finger across the keys.
    -Trill: the rapid alternation of two distinct notes, though in some voices this can sound a lot like vibrato
    -Melisma: in vocal music, the inclusion of many notes on one vowel -- think Mariah Carey

    In singing, most or all of the excursion of a person's vibrato is below the note being held. The graph of a person's vibrato would rarely look like a perfect sine wave, but usually would have an element of saw wave mixed in. That is, during the 1/6th of a second of an average vibrato cycle, the pitch might drop fairly quickly to the bottom of the range of excursion (let's say 1/3 of a whole tone) and take the rest of that time to climb back to the "correct" pitch, and perhaps go sharp by a few cents briefly.

    The rate, shape, dynamics and excursion of a singer's vibrato is something that a well-trained singer can tell with some accuracy after a few seconds of listening. "Eight beats per second, rather smooth, consistent dynamic, and shallow," for example. It is a an objective evaluation, and I'm not surprised a machine can do it too.

    But it is terribly difficult to change one's natural vibrato. It takes months of practice and guidance for the typical voice student with a poor vibrato to improve it. Knowing that the end result (the voice) comes from a combination of physiology, psychology, and technique that involves muscles from the face to the feet, I don't see how this type of feedback will help them fix it.

    Assuming, of course, that it needs fixing. The ideal of a moderate and inoffensive vibrato, while present in many successful singers' voices and most opera singers' voices, is also conspicuously absent from the voices of many well-loved singers and entertainers.

    • Some things vibrato is not:
      -Tremolo: the repetition of a note, usually rapid, despite the misuse of the term in electric guitar circles to mean pitch-bending equipment.

      It surprises me that in a comment so thorough and well-presented as yours that you would miss the mark on the relevant definition of 'tremolo'.

      In acoustics terms, tremolo is a cyclic departure from and return to an intensity. It is similar to vibrato, only occurring on the amplitude-axis rather than the frequency-axis, and the two are genera

  • It is was first developed by Soviets -- Israeli just stole it. Even this took two decade to build a semi "functional prototype".
  • Baf X of Hidden Agenda infamy taught me how to coach vibrato to female rock singers: punch them in the gut until they stop it.

    Fortunately band politics removed the threat before I could test this method.

  • Tartini [otago.ac.nz] is OSS that has some similar functionality. I'd love to get it running, but when I tried, I failed. If anyone can give instructions that work for compiling it on Ubuntu Hardy Heron, I'd be very grateful. I emailed the author, and he tried to help me, but I was out of my depth with Qt, and gave up for lack of time. Below is what he told me about the problems I was experiencing.

    > apt-get install libqwt-dev libqt4-dev fftw3-dev
    > $ qmake pitch.pro
    > WARNING: Failure to find: rtAudio/rtAudio.cp

    • by jacquesm (154384)

      Inquiries, Lost & Found department, how may we be of assistance ?

      OS discussions ? Third door on your left.

      You're welcome...

  • There's also a video version of the coach [youtube.com] that can be used on any machine.
  • This is wonderful news for someone who wants to sing, but I'm still waiting for those clever Israeli researchers to come up with a system capable of correctly predicting next week's winning lottery numbers. Such a system would cause many people to sing (though not very skillfully).
  • ... But a lot of singers think it is. Vibrato is a change in volume.

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